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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Irksome locks to Slattocks.

We got away by 1000 which was a bit of a surprise seeing as how tired I was last night. I had wondered whether we would sleep okay as there were donkeys peacocks and something else birdlike and noisy.

We crossed the very solid Irk Aqueduct. This would have been a better mooring as there are mooring posts and open views. We got just round the corner and came to stop, as the engine stopped approaching the lock, with something jammed in the propeller. This cobbled trackway led away from the towpath at the top of the aqueduct.

Whilst I cleared the blockage Helen went for a little look around. The blockage was easily cleared as a log had just got stuck in the weed hatch and blocked the blade. Our old prop would have had yet another bent blade, but this new one is much meatier. This

The Irk Aqueduct is very solidly built. The Irk was called Iwrk or Irke and this was old English or something that meant roebuck, indicating that it was a swift flowing river. It was a major cause of flooding in Manchester. By 1830 it was said that the Irk had more mills on it then any equal length of river in the kingdom. It is now culverted through  Manchester and actually flows into the Irwell near the railway viaduct near Castlefield basin.

By the time Helen returned we were already for our first lock of the day, and it is a very picturesque one. No.63 is all stone bridges, by washes and trees.

Here is Helen passing under the humped bridge. It is one of a few locks that has to be left empty.

The weather was glorious and there were loads of people on the tow path, and every one said something along the lines of 'you will be fit when you get to the top!'. The railway was built, not too many years after the canal, by George Stephenson and this bridge certainly adds to the canalscape.

At the next lock, No.60, I was shocked to find a boat in the lock. I was even more surprised to find it was a single hander, and he had come all the way from Goole! I told him about calling C&RT for help down to Manchester.

By the time we got to No.55 I was flagging and grew pretty disheartened when I saw a gate I had set closed. When I got back I found yet another boat! It seems they had got so used to not seeing any boats they didn't look. Still, we are in now rush and I was able to tell them about the man in front, and where he was stopping for the night. Volunteer lockies or not, sharing the locks with another boat would make the drop down into Manchester much easier for both of them.

We got to the top of Slattocks, or Laneside Locks and stopped. I think ten of these locks in a day is a goodly number. After lunch Helen thought I was looking as if I still had a gramme of energy so we locked up and walked off up the hill and a circular walk to the garden centre that was 2 minutes up the road! Mind you the glimpse of the hills in the distance is encouraging.

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